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Catcher in the Rye Essay: Holden – The Thinking Man

Holden: The Thinking Man of The Catcher In The Rye

Margaret Atwood defined the “thinking man” as on who resists, believes survival is a necessity, is isolated and alienated, and who is aware of the elements that make one’s psyche and physical being disappear. Atwood’s “thinking man” is exhibited in Holden Caulfield through the use of character, plot, and symbolism.

The “thinking man” is clearly portrayed through Holden Caulfield’s character. One characteristic of Atwood’s “thinking man” is that of being isolated and alienated. Holden is a very lonely character. An example that shows this is his direct reference to David Copperfield in the first paragraph of the novel when he says “…and all that David Copperfield kind of crap.”(pg.1) When David Copperfield was a child he was alienated from his mother, and was very lonely. This points to the fact that Holden had a very lonely childhood and, like David Copperfield, his innocence as well.

Like the “thinking man” Holden was aware of the elements that make one’s being disappear. This segment of Holden’s character is helped by symbolism. For Holden, it was too late to stop himself from entering adulthood, a kingdom he resisted entering, a kingdom he viewed with disgust. For this reason he wanted to help other children, and save them from “disappearing” over the edge of the rye field too, to preserve their innocence and to save them from the dreaded adulthood.

Also, Holden had resisted one of the factors leading towards the loss of his innocence; losing his virginity. He “had quite a few opportunities to lose [his] virginity…[he] came quite close to doing it a couple of times…she keeps telling [him] to stop, and [he] stops.” This not only shows that he doesn’t want to lose his purity, but that he cares for the girl’s innocence too, and does not want her to lose it.

Next, “Catcher In The Rye” uses plot to create the “thinking man”. Holden Caulfield has a deep struggle within himself. He wants to be positive, and her wants to work with and for the positive, and yet he is continually drawn to the negative aspects of life. In one scene he is at a food stop eating, when two nuns approach him. Even though they didn’t ask for money, Holden donates $10 from his fast depleting funds. Nevertheless, he is drawn to the negative aspects of life too.

gatjay F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – Lessons from Jay Gatsby

The Great Gatsby: Lessons from Jay

In the Novel The Great Gatsby, not many people really knew the man known as Jay Gatsby. When he was rich and powerful, he was the man you “want to know.” But when he was dead, life went on without him. It seemed as if nobody cared that he was the man behind the parties and all the good times. He was dead and nobody mourned. This shows that the opinion of the great Jay Gatsby changed by the end of the story. He was an icon of not only every man’s image of the American Dream, but he was also apart of Americanism and the American Experience. He was seen as the richest and luckiest man during his time.

Unlike any of the other characters in the novel, Jay Gatsby does not change during the course of the story. He as a person might not have changed, but the way that people perceived him certainly became different. When he was alive and well, he was the perfect idea of the American Dream. He had more money than he knew what to do with. He could afford to have oversized parties every weekend. Jay Gatsby was the person to know when it came to the Eggs.

In the beginning, he was only known as Jay Gatz. He was a poor boy in the army. He only had his charm to get him by. This is how he meets Daisy. She was a very rich girl, from a wealthy family. They were in love from the beginning. Unfortunately, Daisy believed that “rich girls don’t marry poor boys.” From that moment on, Jay Gatz wanted one thing; to get rich so he could show Daisy that a poor boy could get rich. This obsession ate up the real man inside. Jay Gatz became Jay Gatsby. This new man wanted to become the American Dream at an early age. He did what ever he could to get his money.

One of the more puzzling things about Jay Gatsby is where did he come from and where did he get his money? Nobody other than Daisy really knows where he came from. When people were talking at one of Gatsby’s first parties, nobody could really say where he was from.

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